Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tension over TOTE sale - 4th December 2009

Tempers have flared as a Government Business Enterprise committee probes the failed sale of TOTE Tasmania.

The Treasurer, Michael Aird, has been accused of wasting money and letting down the racing industry.

The Government took TOTE off the market yesterday, after eight months without a decent offer.

The aborted sale process cost $3 million and the Opposition's racing spokesman, Jeremy Rockliff, says the Treasurer's lost the industry's confidence.
"You should resign," he said.

The Greens' Kim Booth says it is a conflict for the Treasurer to also be the Racing Minister.

"You've effectively stuffed up two portfolio responsibilities."

The Government gives the racing industry $27 million a year.

The Treasurer, Michael Aird, says it was on its knees when Labor came to power but stakes have risen considerably.

"We are the envy of other states," he said.

He insists there was a good market to sell TOTE when it was first listed.

The opposition parties have accepted an offer from the Treasurer to be privately briefed on the aborted sale.

Mr Aird says some parts of the sale are commercial-in-confidence but the parties should hear an independent opinion from a financial advisor.

"I think the best thing I can do, in relation to this discussion is offer a confidential briefing for both the political parties from Deloitte's, with the Probity Advisor in tow, to ensure that you understand Deloitte's assessment of the process," he said.

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